Round 23 – Melb v GWS: A Weekend of Melbourne Culture

The depictions of mental ideas are as valid as the recording of external events  (André Breton)


St Kilda

Walking through a back street from our weekend abode towards the tram stop.
Young Bloke sitting on a low wall, “G’day, do you guys want a cone?”
PC: “No thanks.”
YB: “Are you sure, it will brighten your day.”
Not that our day needed brightening.


MoMA at the NGV

The exhibition of Modern and Contemporary art from New York’s famed museum at the National Gallery of Victoria.
The word “National” retained from pre-federation days. Historical? Quaint? Hubristic?


“We won’t be renaming the National Gallery of Victoria. It has a great tradition. It is the biggest and best gallery in the country and it’s one of the biggest and best in the world.” (former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks).
Premiers and Art Gallery directors in other capital cities may well disagree but the NGV is certainly a stunning place containing many brilliant exhibits.


The works in the MoMA exhibition depict modern life while “conveying the emotional and psychological effects” of navigating a rapidly changing world. Things as they are and things as they are not. Some stunning works – Dali up close, Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Miro. Works of the famous and widely known. And of others considered to be significant but their creators not so renown outside artistic circles.


Much of it thought provoking. Some I found hard to fathom – but that is the way of modern art and me. Without me being too sport jockish, a number of the exhibits seemed to suggest sporting metaphors. While the definite aircraft path lines in Flight Patterns (Koblin) represent the player tracker movements as per the instructions from the coach, the more random, somewhat confused paths of paint in Pollock’s Number 7 would probably represent the reality, or surreality. And the drooping contours of Giant Soft Fan (Oldenberg) could well resemble the phone used by either of the Scott brothers after a particularly frenetic finish to a match.


Elsewhere in the gallery the sporting links continue. In the sculpture Controlology (Camille Henrot) the part-human, part-animal, part-machine creation looks as though it could be performing Pilates and brings echoes of how humans have adapted features of the animal world (wetsuits, bodysuits or flippers in water sports) or used machines. And also, on the left side of the 17th Century painting The Skittle Players (David Teniers) men play skittles and drink while on the right a woman labours over the washing tub. It were ever thus.


A good experience where we were challenged and learnt things.


Dogs Bar in St Kilda


Dinner with friends at an Italian restaurant on Acland Street followed by drinks at the Dogs Bar where a high decibel rockabilly band, The Strays, strutted their stuff. Many 60s classics done to a rockabilly beat. Some sounding good, some ordinary. The packed crowd of locals were loving it. So did we – mostly.


Couples danced in the space in front of the band. We joined them. The PC shuffle. Big Gretsch guitar slung low, the lead singer prowled, looking for all the world like Dustin Martin, a post-punk modernist, part Mohawk, part mullet, heavily tattooed. And he could play too. In their cover of the Easybeats She’s So Fine he got the descending notes in the ‘ferocious’ guitar break just right – and I reckon that wouldn’t be easy. He looked at us sideways as if to say, “Here I am, up here, playing all these brilliant chords for those old farts trying to dance.”


At one stage he climbed onto the bar (a Dusty sidestep) and kept playing without missing a beat. Later, the police arrived in the form of two big, burly coppers. Just looking. As they departed the band burst into I Fought The Law.


A good night was had.


Football at the MCG


I wonder if there was ever a consideration that AFL be the known as the NVFL, the National Victorian Football League?


Melbourne v GWS


The wrong team won. Things as they are and things as they are not. Melbourne are on a high. Linking together well and increasingly better at winning the ball after stoppages, they beat the Giants at their own game. The man mountain Max Gawn palmed balls in all directions, took decisive marks and together with a lively midfield of James Harmes and Angus Brayshaw, created some havoc.


Melbourne had the better of a pretty even first half and then kicked away in the third term, scoring five goals without reply. They are well set for the finals. The Giants reminded me of their early days. With Jeremy Cameron (who had a shocker) often out-positioned, many of the forays forward were thwarted. Toby, where are you? Stephen Coniglio, Callum Ward and Adam Tomlinson battled hard all day. Finals success for GWS will require some re-grouping, greater input from some and, despite the lack of match fitness, the inclusion of one or two key players returning from injury.


The crowd scenario was interesting. Demons fans have found a positive voice. At Manuka or Adelaide Oval, the hard-core visiting fans certainly make their presence known at times in the game when their side is doing well. The same did not occur at the MCG, with any GWS support being lost in the cavernous arena.


Melbourne: 4.2 7.6 12.9 15.12 (102)
Greater Western Sydney: 4.1 5.5 5.8 8.9 (57)
Melbourne: McDonald 3, Petracca 3, Neal-Bullen 2, Brayshaw, vandenBerg, Harmes, Melksham, Gawn, Jones, Weideman.
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio 2, Tomlinson, Himmelberg, Cameron, Finlayson, Lobb, Langdon.

Melbourne: Gawn, Harmes, Brayshaw
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio, Ward, Tomlinson, Kennedy
Umpires: Stevic, Dalgleish, Rosebury
Crowd: 37, 285


Unfortunately time constraints meant no chance to re-visit to the wonderful National Sports Museum (including the magnificent cricket section) or any other gallery. However we did manage a quick flit past the colorful graffiti creations in Hosier Lane and thence to the Cricketer’s Bar of the majestic Windsor Hotel and the wonderful old cricket photos on display. One photo is that of the 1934 Australian team, including Prospect District Cricket Club champion, Tim Wall. Bert Oldfield and Stan McCabe are seated at front on the grass. A friend of mine once hypothesized that Bert Oldfield would be found in this position in every cricket team photo in which he ever appeared.


About Peter Crossing

Peter Crossing loves the pure 'n natch'l blues. He is a member of the silver fox faction of the Adelaide Uni Greys. He is something of a cricket tragic although admitting to little interest in the IPL or Big Bash forms of the game.


  1. Hey Peter interesting point about the National Gallery of Victoria and the National Victoria Football league.
    Ironically, the SANFL was not named “National” until 26 years after confederation (according to Wikipedia). One wonders what weird motive drove that.
    Does anyone know why this would be? Was there a separatist movement in SA? Anything else South Australian called “National”? I remember the National Centre for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics (NCPGG), but this is something pretending to represent the whole country, like the A.F.L. (or in one word, the AwFL) does now. Did the SANFL have national pretensions in 1927?

  2. Culture + Sport + Food + Friends = Life. Nice one PC.
    In golf – Augusta National; Trump National. Self aggrandisement.

  3. Peter Crossing says

    Thanks Gents
    I was a little tongue in cheek about the NVFL. There do seem to be some who still see the AFL in that way. My thoughts are that the SAFL changed to the SANFL in 1927 in order to promote/recognise our uniquely Australian game as distinct from soccer (football) and the rugby codes. The WAFA changed its name to the WANFL in 1931 but eventually reverted to WAFL. I consulted with history guru Bernard Whimpress who is of the same opinion about the SANFL. Phew. He did say that there was no real significance about the year.
    + Music + Family and it all = Wonderful life. I note the early hour of your reply. Eagles training run?

  4. Michael Harry says

    Nice writing and good comments. A wise decision on the cone, though I reckon Andre Breton would have taken it.

    Love the sporting suggestions you found in the MOMA works. Jackson Pollock and a bad AFL game go together. Blue Poles brings Carlton’s season to mind. At least you had a real game with Melbourne v GWS. Won’t get into right and wrong sides except to say I like underdogs , especially those who haven’t won a premiership for a long time (or ever). I will be supporting both in their finals forays. Go the Underdoggies!

    Fully endorse Peter B’s take on National….though VNFL is apt for the current competition.

    The Dogs Bar is a happy place. The music can be hit or miss but it sounds like the patrons loved it regardless. Dancing to a loud band is great therapy.

  5. Bernard Whimpress says

    Nice brush strokes Peter. As I said when we spoke the VFL had no need to add ‘National’ because the game has always been ‘Victorian Rules’. I recently acquired a Pollock-style painting and it puts a lot of joy into my lounge room and helps overcome Carlton’s disastrous season. For anyone interested my eclectic artistic taste currently displayed includes a large photographic portrait of former no. 1 Norwood FC ticket-holder Don Dunstan by Bryan Charlton, a Leunig print, a landscape painting of Hallett Cove Conservation Park, famous action photographs of Harold Oliver and Jack ‘Snowy’ Hamilton who both ought to be in the AFL Hall of Fame, and team shots of the Australian Test teams of 1930 and 1934 in which Bert Oldfield is, indeed, seated on the grass.

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